When staying in jail is the preferred option: The endgame in the Nirav Modi extradition case is now approaching fast. The court of appeal is due to give directions this week on the next— and final— steps in the case. As the court observed, further arguments are pointless because whatever the Indian government says or does, the defence will say it’s not good enough. Nirav Modi has been in jail for close to three years now. It’s a little curious to see his lawyers present arguments that would seek in effect to prolong his stay in prison.
Havoc of a ‘passing flu’: So the past week has seen more than a million new Covid cases, mostly Omicron, though Delta hasn’t disappeared. The assumption that Omicron is little more than passing flu is being challenged now by hospitalisations that have risen 50 per cent in a week, and the number of deaths that has risen upwards of 30 per cent in a week. It may be too early yet to write this off as a passing flu, as most in India too are doing.
Not safe enough: Some reports from South Africa have suggested that Omicron may have peaked. Britain too could be close to peaking, the number is not rising dramatically from its present highs, even if the numbers are significant, and serious cases among them a growing and worrying number. There is far more reason to look nervously at the spread in India where the transmission will be quicker, and where most people are really unprotected despite double vaccination because that came with the relatively less effective Covishield, the Indian name for AstraZeneca.
Tainted honour: Some demands are being made to review the way New Year’s honours are handed out. This year as many as 1,200 people were honoured on the Queen’s list. Some clearly were eminent, and some undoubtedly controversial, not least the knighting of Tony Blair. The practice is for nominations to be sent to a committee that then goes through them. A lot of people do just the sort of thing that could win a recognition, and then lobby hard to get a nomination to succeed.
Visa row: The immigration fear is being raised in Britain again ahead of the start of the India-UK trade talks later this month. The Daily Mail has pointed to prospects that a growing number of Indians could come and live and work in Britain under concessions that the UK is expected to offer. Easier visas for Indian professionals to work in Britain has been an unexpectedly strong demand from India.